Tag Archives: evs

NC Cooperative Demonstration of Vehicle-to-Grid Smart Charger Shows Economic Value

Electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to be more than just a means of transportation now that more automakers are selling vehicles compatible with vehicle-to-grid technology, like Nissan LEAF, Ford F150 Lightning, and the Thomas Built C2 Jouley school bus. Bidirectional capable charging stations can transform electric cars, buses, garbage trucks, fleet vehicles and more into mobile energy storage banks.

Preliminary findings from a demonstration of two-way, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology in North Carolina show the economic potential for using bidirectional charging technologies to feed energy stored in electric vehicle batteries back to charging sites, especially when the grid is experiencing high demand. 

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is coordinating with Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) to demonstrate and evaluate the economic case for the use of a two-way charger made by Fermata Energy, maker of the first EV charger certified for the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The project also benefits from support from partners including Advanced Energy, Clean Energy Works, and Environmental Defense Fund.

REC’s headquarters in the rural town of Ahoskie, NC, is the demonstration site for the project, where technicians for the utility’s growing broadband business use the utility’s two Nissan LEAF electric vehicles. The cooperative provides electricity and broadband services to a wide variety of industrial, recreational, educational, community and other interests in addition to farms in northeast North Carolina.

The two-way “smart” charger provides power to Roanoke Electric’s two EV cars, and it is one of the first chargers delivered from Fermata’s manufacturing site in Danville, Virginia. This charger not only curtails a vehicle’s charging in response to peak system demand, but also, it can discharge the energy stored in a connected EV to meet some of the demand at the site when demand on the grid is high. 

The V2G charging technology was thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratory to meet the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The purpose of this current demonstration has been to illuminate the value potential of V2G for fleet managers, energy professionals and utility companies— and the project is well on its way to accomplishing that goal.

Initial Results

Fermata Energy’s FE-15 is capable of providing 15 kilowatts of power both to the car and back to the site served by the grid. REC schedules dispatch of the on-board battery in response to predicted peaks, which usually lasts two to three hours. Using only one of REC’s Nissan LEAFs, the V2G system has been able to reduce the utility’s load, on average, by 14.14 kW during the entirety of the 85 event hours to date, across a variety of operating conditions. 

As an example, during a window of recent events, the two-way EV charger discharged the EV battery at 14 kW on average, and it saved the cooperative nearly $440.

The results from this small window suggest savings of over $2,660 a year per two-way charger. The value of this single unit hints at the potential for much bigger savings when multiplied by many units, serving multiple EVs or integrated with entire fleets of EVs. While some chargers may not have an EV connected during every peak period, utilities will develop experience over time with a minimum fraction of availability across thousands of EVs and two-way charging stations, accessing hundreds of MWh of energy storage on-board local EVs.

In addition to system-wide savings, V2G chargers can also create savings for non-residential customers that pay demand charges. Despite having relatively modest demand charges of $9.50/kW, Fermata’s software and charger strategically dispatched the Nissan LEAF battery to reduce REC’s headquarters building demand charges by $234 over a two month period. At larger facilities, Fermata has demonstrated the FE-15 is capable of capturing the full 15 kW in savings possible, and in parts of the country where demand charges can surpass $20/kW, customers could realize savings of over $300 a month.

For REC and its members, and any utility with demand charge and demand response programs in which V2X technology can participate, the benefits of system-wide savings as well as customer savings can be realized simultaneously. Using REC’s local and system demand charges, each FE-15 operating at maximum capacity could result in $3,500 to $4,000 of savings each year.

Roanoke Electric has also been able to demonstrate another application that V2X technology makes possible for improving energy assurance and reliability. REC’s facility has an on-site generator that allows it to isolate itself from the grid, and Fermata’s V2X charger can discharge the Nissan LEAF battery to partially power the facility either by dispatching stored energy when the site’s usage is highest, or by reacting to scheduled discharges for a set duration. The ability for smart charging to respond to an islanded load powered by the generator increases the resilience of sites that use generators as back-up power systems.

These results have important implications for the affordability of electricity, both for grid operators and for the member owners of the electric cooperative. REC’s CEO Curtis Wynn has underscored the improvements to grid utilization that the utility can attain when distributed storage is available to member-owners on the Roanoke Electric grid.

The Potential of Vehicle-to-Grid Technology

As public and private fleets in the United States replace internal-combustion engine vehicles with EVs, integration of V2G technology could enable EVs to serve as energy reservoirs to help keep the grid running smoothly during demand peaks and during system outages. 

In this demonstration at REC, the dollar savings appear to nearly offset the cost of the EVs. The cooperative’s two new Nissan LEAFs with 62kWh battery capacities are leased at less than $250 per month, and the demonstration has documented a generated value of as high as $230 a month. The implications for dropping the net cost of electric mobility to Roanoke Electric member-owners is tremendous.

On a residential scale, electric vehicle drivers could use vehicle-to-building technology to power their homes during lengthy blackouts. With a bidirectional charging system, homeowners could pull power from their electric vehicle batteries to keep fridges, lights, the internet and heating and cooling systems on in their homes, especially when jeopardized by heat waves or hypothermia as seen this year in Texas.

Vehicle-to-building technology could also keep the power on for critical services such as hospitals and shelters during extreme weather conditions and other emergency outages, reducing or even eliminating the cumulative numbers of hours these essential systems have to use backup diesel generators. 

As the demonstration continues, REC staff are exploring a pilot application of the technology with commercial customers, focusing first on locations having higher voltage service — in line with the design of the FE-15 device.

John Bonitz, a specialist for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “Preparing for a future where fleets of electric buses and cars will be electrified, this demonstration at Roanoke Electric Cooperative is helping prove the benefits and economic value of integrating V2G technology to shave peaks, improve grid utilization and increase resilience – all while helping the cooperative and its members save money. And we’re honored to be involved.” 


ABOUT THE TEAM

This demonstration is possible only due to a unique partnership between six organizations:  Roanoke Electric Cooperative serves about 14,000 accounts in Northeastern North Carolina out of their headquarters in Ahoskie, NC.  Fermata Energy is a company created for the dual purposes of accelerating the adoption of EVs and accelerating the transition to a renewable energy future, and it is their bi-directional EV charger and proprietary software system that allow electric vehicles to earn money while they are parked.  Clean Energy Works provides advisory services for accelerating investment in grid-edge solutions.  Advanced Energy is a nonprofit energy consulting firm that assists utilities with program design and electric transportation initiatives. Environmental Defense Fund, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems, including supporting policies that accelerate transportation electrification to create a zero-emission future.  The NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program is supporting the demonstration with analysis, technical assistance and facilitation. NCCETC also hosts the largest outreach and engagement events in the region on sustainable fleets, the Sustainable Fleet Technology virtual conference series.

Electric Vehicle Drivers Share Their Experience Driving Electric for National Drive Electric Week

This September 25th through October 3rd, 2021, the United States will celebrate National Drive Electric Week, sponsored by Plug in America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association. The celebration, which started in 2011, helps spread awareness about the benefits of driving electric, including decreased emissions, fuel savings and enhanced performance of electric vehicles (EVs). This year, National Drive Electric Week consists of hundreds of free events across the United States, both in-person and online.

The Clean Transportation program at NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has participated in the campaign for many years now and, in 2020, sponsored five virtual webinars on electric vehicles topics including best practices and lessons learned of charging infrastructure deployment, idle reduction and EV options for fleets.

NCCETC is kicking off National Drive Electric Week at NC State in Raleigh, NC with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show on September 25, 2021. The following Monday, September 27 NCCETC is hosting another EV owner meet-up and test drive at Venture Plaza on NC State’s Centennial Campus. 

Those interested in going electric can also explore a variety of EVs and their drivers’ experiences driving electric through our Electric Driver Profile series. NCCETC sat down with seven EV drivers to hear about the benefits of going electric.

Lisa Etnyre Boneham

Helen DiPietro

Take a video tour of Helen DiPietro’s 2019 Nissan LEAF EV:

Dave Erb

Take a video tour of Dave Erb’s 2015 Chevy Spark EV:

Wendy Gilliatt

Take a video tour and ride-a-long in Wendy Gilliatt’s 2017 Chevy Bolt EV:

Chris Maxwell

Dianna Tarallo

Jarred White

Links and event dates are provided below to learn more and register for upcoming National Drive Electric week events and webinars.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop for Local Governments and Citizens

By the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department

Venue

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department facilitated an Alternative Fuel Vehicles workshop on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The three and one-half hour workshop occurred at Council of Governments headquarter located at 1724 Graham Avenue, Henderson, NC.  The goal of KTRCG is to promote regionalism that provides opportunities for local governments to enhance and improve the quality of life for citizens through the effective delivery of services and programs.

Workshop Purpose

The workshop educated local governments and the public about clean energy alternative fuel solutions and technologies that help reduce transportation-related emissions and air pollutants. Participants received information that allowed them to make informed decisions about implementing alternative fuel use into their department fleet of vehicles and daily lives.

Speaker Lineup

The workshop featured four dynamic presentations from NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Program Director Rick Sapienza, Alliance AutoGas Municipal and Law Enforcement Specialist Mike Phillips, Blue Arrow Telematics Major Account Consultant Melvin McNeill, and Tesla Advisors Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum.  The workshop culminated with a video from U.S. House of Representatives Congressmen G.K. Butterfield, D-NC 1st District.  

NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Rick Sapienza gave attendees an overview of the services that NCCETC provides.  Sapienza’s presentation discussed ways that attendees could procure funding opportunities for clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure. Sapienza also stated the importance of capitalizing on alternative fuel and advanced transportation technology incentives to cut costs and reduce emissions.

Alliance AutoGas

Mike Phillips discussed the seven components of a successful Autogas Program.  Phillips emphasized using a top-down buy-in approach to implement a turnkey operation in local government department fleets that cut fuel and maintenance costs, while reducing emissions. 

Blue Arrow Telematics

Melvin McNeill discussed vehicle safety and data solutions for law enforcement offered through using telematics.  Participants gleaned a better understanding of the role telematics plays in driver safety implementation and best practices. The examples McNeill provided as to why government entities should integrate telematics, technology and data solutions into their fleets resonated with workshop attendees.

Tesla

Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum of Tesla discussed their new product line and electric vehicle technologies coming down the pipeline. From their presentation, attendees realized the role that electric vehicles play in the reduction of emissions.  Also, they did an analysis breakdown, putting into perspective the affordability of a Tesla for the average consumer.

The CCC Approach (Combating Climate Change)

Congressman Butterfield stated the importance of using biofuels to produce crops in rural communities to combat climate change.  The House of Representatives has a goal of attaining zero net emissions, leaving the country carbon-free by 2050. This objective parallels Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 initiative to reduce global warming.

Conclusion

Overall, the Alternative Vehicles Workshop was a success.  Evaluation results suggest that participants gained a better understanding of how the transportation sector is the primary direct path to address climate change. Using alternative fuels ensures the reduction of negative emissions.

Posted by Nicole Deck

National Drive Electric Week 2019 Photos

Last week, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center celebrated National Drive Electric Week 2019 with six events in Raleigh at NC State University, Winston-Salem at Wake Forest University, and Pittsboro, NC! Check out the photos from the events below.

NC State Football Tailgate & Expo (Photos by Nicole Deck)

 

Centennial Campus Expo + Ride & Drive (Photos by Nicole Deck)

 

Driver Meet-Up + Ride & Drive (Photos by Nicole Deck)

Winston-Salem events at Wake Forest University (Photos by Matt Abele)

Downtown Pittsboro Expo (Photos by John Bonitz)

Clean Transportation Demonstration Days Oct. 8 & 9

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and Triangle J Council of Governments for two Clean Transportation Demonstration Days this October 8 & 9!

Register for the Oct. 8 Concord event here, and register for the Oct. 9 Raleigh event here.

Ron Luttrell of Zero Motorcycles talks to a guest test driving a Zero Motorcycle at First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day.
Photo by Mark Lienhard, EVOLVE GT LLC.

Executive Order 80 calls for the State of North Carolina to protect its environment while growing clean energy technologies. The order “affirms North Carolina’s commitment to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels, calls for a 40% reduction in energy consumption in state-owned buildings, and calls for an increase in registered, zero-emission vehicles (“ZEVs”) to at least 80,000 – all by year 2025.”

Clean Transportation Demonstration Days support Executive Order 80 and give government entities across North Carolina information and experience with clean transportation technologies. The day will consist of classroom instruction with real-world case study results, hands-on product static review, networking, and a closed-course ride and drive for those who wish to participate.

Classroom instruction will include alternative fuel options, telematics and other new technologies, safety and more. There will be a diverse display of vehicles including a Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, police vehicle and fire truck, Zero Motorcycle and more. Lunch will be provided.

*Note: The event is only open to government entities and utilities.

For any questions, contact Rick Sapienza at resapien@ncsu.edu or 919-515-2788 (office)/ 919-332-4510 (cell).

Register for the Oct. 8 Concord event here, and register for the Oct. 9 Raleigh event here.

Six National Drive Electric Week Events This September

 

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center for National Drive Electric Week 2019! We will have six events located in Winston-Salem, Pittsboro and Raleigh, NC, including vehicle expos/tailgates, ride and drives, and driver meet-ups. Visit www.DriveElectricWeek.org to find an event near you!

Electric Vehicle Car Show & Tailgate, 4-6 p.m. Friday, September 13 in Winston-Salem, BB&T Field: Join us to kick off National Drive Electric Week at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show at the Wake Forest Vs. UNC Chapel Hill football game!  Kick-off is at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 13. The vehicles will be located in front of the Bridger Field House.

(For game day on Friday, due to the congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show. )

Register here.

Driver Meet-Up, Car Show + Ride & Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. September 14 in Winston-Salem, BB&T Field:  On Saturday, September 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., bring your plug-in vehicle to a driver meet-up, car show and ride and drive, which is open to the public. The vehicles will be located in the Gold Parking Lot across from Bridger Field House.

Register here.

Electric Vehicle Car Show + Ride & Drive on Thursday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Join us for a car show and ride & drive at Venture Plaza on NC State University’s Centennial campus. For this lunchtime event, there will be food trucks, static EVs and PHEVs to look at as well as test-drive. If you are an owner, there will be room for up to 10 static vehicles for the static car show. Owners are also welcome to participate in the ride & drive portion of the event.

For those who just want to visit and are not part of the Centennial Campus community, pay public parking is available in front of the Hunt Library. This is the same venue as the spring 2019 Earth Day event and will be a similar setup. Come on out have lunch and learn about driving on electricity!

Register here.

Driver Meet-Up & Car Show on Friday, September 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Join us for a plug-in electric vehicle driver meet-up, car show, and ride & drive outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter Finley Stadium.  Bring your plug-in vehicle. Open to the public.

Register here.

Electric Vehicle Show & Tailgate on Saturday, September 21, time TBD: Join us for a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter-Finley Stadium. Come learn about electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as register for a chance to win NC State University Football prizes!

(For game day on Saturday, due to congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show.)

Electric Vehicle Car Show at Pepperfest, Downtown Pittsboro, 3-6 p.m. Sunday, September 22: Join us at the 2019 Pepper Festival in Downtown Pittsboro to check out a display of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, and talk to us to learn more about them.

Learn more and find an event near you at www.DriveElectricWeek.org!

Electric Vehicles With UNC Charlotte

Considering alternative fuels for your fleet? Learn more about electric vehicles!

We visited the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last year to talk to Chris Facente, Automotive and Motor Fleet Supervisor, about the university’s fleet of electric vehicles. Check out our video on it here.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has 115 electric vehicles on its campus, including Polaris GEMs and Nissan Leafs. Facente said they’d like their fleet to be 25 percent electric in about two years.

Electric vehicles are cheaper to run because they don’t require gas and require less maintenance – and they produce no harmful emissions.

Chris Facente
Rick Sapienza, NCCETC Clean Transportation Program Manager

Learn more about electric vehicles and if this option could be right for your fleet at www.cleantransportation.org.

2019 National Drive Electric Week Events Coming Up in Raleigh

It’s National Drive Electric Week! Are you interested in learning more about electric and hybrid vehicles?

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center for National Drive Electric Week at NC State University in Raleigh, September 19-21!

Electric Vehicle Car Show + Ride & Drive on Thursday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Join us for a car show and ride & drive at Venture Plaza on NC State University’s Centennial campus. For this lunchtime event, there will be food trucks, static EVs and PHEVs to look at as well as test drive. If you are an owner, there will be room for up to 10 static vehicles for the static car show. Owners are also welcome to participate in the ride & drive portion of the event. For those who just want to visit and are not part of the Centennial Campus community, pay public parking is available in front of the Hunt Library. This is the same venue as the spring 2019 Earth Day event and will be a similar setup. Come on out have lunch and learn about driving on electricity!

Register here.

 

Driver Meet-Up & Car Show on Friday, September 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Join us for a plug-in electric vehicle driver meet-up, car show, and ride & drive outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter Finley Stadium.  Bring your plug-in vehicle. Open to the public.

Register here.

 

Electric Vehicle Show & Tailgate on Saturday, September 21, time TBD: Join us for a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter-Finley Stadium. Come learn about electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as register for a chance to win NC State University Football prizes!

*For game day on Saturday, due to the game day congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show.

 

Learn more at www.DriveElectricWeek.org!

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